When Failure Strikes

Sometimes, life just doesn’t work out the way you want it to. 

  Lemon lime layer cake with whipped cream frosting

Lemon lime layer cake with whipped cream frosting

Take last weekend for instance.  It was Friday night and I was so excited for the weekend to come.  It was my sister’s birthday AND my grandfather’s birthday, so the whole family was getting together to celebrate and I was in charge of the cake. I found out I was in charge of the cake when my sister texted me a recipe link and the words “My Birthday”.  Nothing else.  We communicate so easily in my family.

 

So Friday night I girded my loins and gathered my baking implements.  I made a lovely lemonade layer cake with a lemon cream cheese frosting.  It was a thing of beauty - tall and fluffy and sweet smelling.  It seemed to be made of not just eggs and flour, but of laughter and joy.  I couldn’t wait to place it on the family table.  As I finished frosting the cake, I smiled and dreamed of the happiness this simple dessert would bring.

 

And then I dropped it in a sink full of dirty dish water.

 

Daniel has been telling people that all he heard from the kitchen was a strangled squeak of distress.  I couldn’t really tell you what I said in that moment, but I can tell you that my thoughts were no longer sugar and spice.  All of a sudden I felt a beast rise inside me and I snarled, “I at least need to know how it tastes!”  I stuck my hand -- my whole hand -- into the non-soggy side of the cake and pulled free a fist full of pastry.  I felt like I was pulling a beating heart from my enemy’s chest and devouring it whole.  I turned to Daniel with fire in my eyes.  “Taste this!  It’s really good!” 

 

After I finished threatening my partner with dessert, I got down to the business of finding a solution to my birthday cake pickle.  I had enough ingredients for a second cake (with some clever substitutions) but there was no way I could recreate the frosting.  I didn’t have the time, ingredients or patience for frosting.  I’d have to think creatively about what could be done to make this birthday cake. 

 

Though I wouldn’t want to lose another cake to the sink, this situation ended up being for the best.  In my fit of rage, I got to taste the first cake and analyze what was missing.  When I made my second cake, I rectified the problems and ended up making my own recipe - and it was vastly superior to the original.  Instead of a lemonade layer cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, I made a lemon lime layer cake with raspberry filling and a lemon whipped cream frosting.

 

It was a thing of beauty.  And I got to tell this story and make everyone smile.  Maybe in the end, it wasn’t such a failure after all.

 Happy birthday!

Happy birthday!